Welcome to CAMRA West Kent

This website is for CAMRA members who have an interest in the West Kent Branch.

The branch area includes the towns of Edenbridge, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Westerham.



Your festival needs you! Save the Date!

Spa Valley Railway in Associatian with West Kent Camra – Real Ale and Cider Festival. 7th to 9th October 2022, Tunbridge Wells. Work on preparing one of the best festivals in the South East is well underway, and we’ll soon be calling on our lovely members to help staff the bars.  We do have a small group of experienced volunteers who we hope will be back this year (they know how much fun it is!) but we need numbers, and we’d particularly like to hear from people who’ve never been involved before.  No experience necessary and no commitment at this stage, but if you think you might be interested in joining in, please email the festival staffing officer, Rachel Blythe at rachel@blythespringhead.co.uk. Aside from the dates of the festival, we’d also appreciate a few volunteers to assist with setting up in the week before and tearing down, usually on the Monday & Tuesday after.

 

Could You ‘Adopt a Pub’?

This was suggested at the AGM last weekend. As you know, we try to keep an eye on the pubs in our branch but we have a limited number of active members and some pubs are in rural areas that are harder to monitor unless you live nearby. Hence we would like to ask if you could help by adopting a pub. All it requires is to report to the branch occasionally how the pub is doing, how is the beer range and quality, any changes of ownership or cellarman, etc. Not an onerous task to report if it’s your local or one of them. If you can update the pub details on WhatPub.com so much the better – there is a link to enable any changes to be notified to the branch. Many thanks if you can do this.

 


ANNOUNCING 2022 PUB OF THE YEAR

Thank you to all of you who voted in the 2022 Pub of the Year, Cider Pub of the Year & Club of the Year competitions this year.

Having informed the winners we are now pleased to be able to inform you of the full results as follows:

Pub of the Year 2022
WinnerNelson Arms, Tonbridge
Runners upFuggles Beer Cafe and The George, both Tunbridge Wells

Cider Pub of the Year 2022
Nelson Arms, Tonbridge

Club of the Year 2022
Royal British Legion Club, Leigh

Congratulations to all of our worthy winners and please keep supporting them and all of our great pubs and clubs.

We’ll share pictures of the presentation of the winners’ certificates after the ceremonies are completed.

 


STOP PRESS

Check out the PUB CHAT page for news on some recent bus trips taken by intrepid West Kent members … prepare to be amazed !!


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Westerham Brewery Visit – Sunday 3rd November

On our recent Branch Visit to Westerham 16 hardy souls travelled by 401 bus being picked up at various stops along the way.  But then the walk from the bus stop on the A25 is not the easiest, or safest !!  There is a footpath along the A25 but as soon as you walk down the A233 Beggars Lane there is only an overgrown verge to walk on or the road which can be quite busy.

On arrival we found that we had given tables set among the conditioning tanks.  Unfortunately the brewer, Robert Wicks, was not able to be there but we were well looked after by his staff.  On offer were five of their cask ales along with four more on keg.  In the car park outside there was a “street food” van providing snacks and more substantial meals. After a pleasant couple of hours we made our way back to the bus stop where we caught a 401 to Chipstead for a comfort break at the Bricklayers Arms which is a Harvey’s pub.  As well as their regular beers we were able to partake of the Old and Bonfire Boy which were both in excellent condition.  We then caught the last 401 bus back to Tunbridge Wells.


Remember the Farmer’s in Sevenoaks ?

As you may know the much-loved Farmer’s pub in Sevenoaks, opposite the railway station, closed its doors for the last time in January 2006 and was knocked down by its new owners, a property company, despite fierce opposition.  Since then the site has remained derelict, although two planning permissions were granted to build flats and retail units. The Sevenoaks Society did its best to help save the pub, objecting to both applications; the original one, to demolish it, was turned down by Sevenoaks District Council, but overturned on appeal – as was the second, for a revised scheme.

The Society has sought to persuade the Council to take action, but despite their efforts, the concerns of many in the town, and the discussions between the developers and the Council, no progress has been made.  So they have launched a campaign that some of our members may wish to support by signing a petition urging the Council to purchase the site, and develop a scheme of their own, to include an element of much-needed social housing. We can’t bring the pub back. But the derelict site is an eyesore at a key gateway to the town and more importantly it represents an opportunity to provide residential accommodation in town, helping to meet the government’s assessment of our housing need, rather than build on the Green Belt.
The petition may be signed on-line (using Sevenoaks District Council’s E-petition page on their web-site): https://sevenoaks.moderngov.co.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?id=42 There is also a paper petition that can be obtained from Keith Wade – see below.
Anyone who signs must have a home or work address in Sevenoaks District.  They have over 500 signatures so far but need 1000 plus for the matter to be debated in full Council.

Further Request
Keith Wade, who brought this issue to our attention, is writing a book on the pubs of Sevenoaks. The Farmer’s will feature large, so if anyone has any stories to tell, or any information or images of interest, he would love to hear from them. He’s also trying to pin down the exact date of the pub’s demolition. kwc@keithwadeconsulting.co.uk


40 Years “At Anchor” !

A party from West Kent CAMRA recently visited Barry at The Anchor in Sevenoaks to celebrate his 40th “birthday” at the pub. Quite an achievement! Our picture shows branch chairman Trevor presenting Barry with a caricature to commemorate the occasion.